Knights Fall Short at No. 12 Baylor, 77-74

by Jenna VanHoose

WACO, Texas – Junior Kaitlin Peterson chipped in 32 points to mark her fourth 30-plus point game this season, but the Knights were unable to overcome a late push from No. 12 Baylor to end in a 77-74 heartbreak at Foster Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.

Khyala Ngodu tallied a career-high 15 points while Mya Burns added 14 points. Peterson now leads the Big 12 with the most 30-plus point games this season. Ngodu and Burns each pulled down seven rebounds. Peterson recorded a game-high five steals on the day. 

“I was proud of our effort today, obviously it wasn’t the result that we wanted but I felt that our fight is what kept us in the game,” said head coach Sytia Messer.

The Knights (9-7, 0-6 Big 12) came out firing on all cylinders in the first shooting 50% from the field and 4-4 from the charity stripe. Burns gave the Knights their first lead in the game from a jumper, 8-7. The Bears (15-2, 4-2 Big 12) and Knights fought back and forth for the lead until Peterson stepped up to the line to make two free throws with 2:19 left in the first. The Bears ended the last 10 seconds going 4-4 from the line to give them a one-point lead heading into the second, 18-17.

UCF continued to fight as it held onto the lead for a majority of the second quarter (7:48). Khyala Ngodu and Peterson tallied 16 of the 18 points scored in the second with eight apiece. A second-chance jumper from Ngodu gave the Knights a two-point lead heading into halftime, 35-33. Marking just the second time this season that Baylor went into the half without the lead.

Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu came out of the locker room with a fast break layup and an and-one following a steal from Burns. Baylor rallied back late in the third with a 5-0 run to head into the fourth up five, 58-53. The Bears won the third in scoring with 25 points compared to the Knights' 18.

Baylor took control in the fourth as it held the lead for 9:45 gaining as much as an eight-point advantage. A late and-one from Burns gave the Knights three, 75-74. But back-to-back free throws from Sarah Andrews lead Baylor to a 77-74 victory. The Knights outscored the Bears 21-19 although it wasn’t enough against the No. 12 team in the nation.

After spending eight years at Baylor, it was bittersweet for Coach Messer to be back in Waco. Before the game the crowd and public address announcer welcomed her back.


Coach Messer’s thoughts on being welcomed back:
“That was very sweet and kind for them to take time out and recognize me for a moment. After spending eight years here that was a special time in my life and I value the time that I spent at Baylor. I’m very thankful for Baylor doing that and showing me some love at the beginning of the game.”

The Knights will continue their stay in Texas as they head to Fort Worth for a matchup against TCU on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.